Caledonian Camino

It looks like we’re going to find ourselves in the midst of a 185-mile walkway.

No, don’t worry – The Proclaimers haven’t taken over Crieff…


Plans for the ‘Caledonian Camino’ – a pilgrimage from the Isle of Iona, through Crieff and right across to St Andrews are beginning to take form.

The planned route from East Coast to West Coast will pass through Oban, Tyndrum, Crieff and Dundee. And Crieff Community Trust are busily putting together the best route through town, for the walk across Scotland.

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One of the five sections of the pilgrimage, the 70-mile Fife stretch, is already underway. It gained support from a £400,000 Heritage Lottery Fund award and should be ready for walkers by 2018.

The SPRF (Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum) plan to use the success of the Fife scheme as a platform to promote and secure a path for the rest of the walk.


The project is inspired by Camino de Santiago – the famous Spanish pilgrimage – which welcomes around 200,000 people each year. The Scottish route is part of a bigger European movement to revive pilgrimages (although it might be a tad chillier here in Scotland!).


As walking and cycling have become increasingly popular – it’s hoped that the route will not only attract spiritual walkers. Iona and St Andrews are considered two of Scotland’s most iconic religious sites, but organisers would also like the route to become a rival for the West Highland Way.


Some of the route is still very much in the planning stages. Permission from landowners, and of course, a method of taking walkers across the Atlantic from Mull to Oban are still to be arranged.

Of course you’ve still got Crieff’s trusty old hill, The Knock, to rely on while plans are finalised for the Caledonian Camino.

National Dog Day

Whip out the biscuits and buy a new chew-toy, because today is National Dog Day!

There’s no greater love in the world than that of an owner and their beloved dog.

No one is ever as consistently happy to see you arrive at the door than your furry extended-family member. Wagging their tail in celebration at your mere arrival, is a level appreciation that’s otherwise hard to find.

There aren’t many relationships in the world where one party is happy to dish out so much love and enthusiasm without fear of rejection. The darling dog will come back time and again, even when their loving efforts are rebuffed by a busy owner.

Senior Man with Dog

You won’t find that kind of loyalty from a cat, out there chasing birds and playing hard to get. The cat doesn’t need you – but a dog will be there for you throughout the good and the bad, always by your side.


We have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and now on the top of our agenda is National Dog Day.

A day to celebrate our four legged-friends, and generally appreciate their existence in our lives.

It isn’t just the impact on our family lives that warrant the celebration of dogs, even those of us that don’t own a dog have plenty to be thankful to man’s best friend for.

They provide the blind with a level of independence which would be otherwise impossible. They stand by the police in their day to day duties. They detect bombs and drugs to keep us safe, and they locate victims buried under wreckage… Great work dogs!


We say it’s time to treat our tail-wagging buddies, and repay some of that unconditional love that they doggedly dish-out.

Here at Crieff Hydro we like to make sure that there’s something for all of the family, and welcome your pooches with open arms. We’ve got 900 acres of land for you and your hairy-mate to spend some quality time together, and you can bring your pet along to your dinner at the Clubhouse or in our sister hotel – the Murraypark.


All of our self-catering facilities are dog-friendly, and you can even check your furry-friend in to one of our executive rooms! There are kennels too, if your pup prefers to camp outside.

So join us to celebrate this year’s National Dog Day and surprise your canine chum with a trip to Crieff Hydro! Book now.

Crieff Highland Gathering

We’re furiously brushing up on our caber tossing skills, looking out our finest kilts and practising our Highland Fling. That’s right – we are fast approaching one of our favourite weekends, it’s the return of the Crieff Highland Gathering!


The Highland Gathering is the highlight of Crieff’s summer calendar, and it has been for the past 130 years. We love it, and not just because it’s almost as old as we are.

It brings people together to enjoy themselves, come rain or shine (admittedly it’s usually rain!) It’s a wonderful day out but don’t take our word for it, take Obi Wan’s…

It takes place in the town’s historic Market Park this Sunday, and of course all of the classic highland games will be on display.

There’ll be muscly men throwing things, plenty of Scottish food and drink to enjoy and you’re more or less guaranteed to hear a bagpipe at some point.


There’s also the mile long, Crieff Kilt Race which starts from the top end of the town, hurtles down the hill and finishes in the park. Any spectators looking uphill, should beware of the true Scotsman!

This year also sees the return of the Glenturret Live music tent. After a successful first year at the last Gathering, our friends from Glenturret Distillery have once again organised a fantastic line up of Scottish Music. Skippinish, Breabach – who have twice been nominated for ‘best band’ at the BBC 2 Folk Awards – and more will provide the soundtrack to the Gathering.


The ‘Taste of Tartan’ mini food festival will be showcasing Strathearn local food and drink produce, and you’ll even get a cheeky wee taster. There’ll also be food and drink stalls for those who don’t have time to pack a picnic – it does start at 9.30AM on the day of rest after all.


And, as if all of this wasn’t enough, the Chieftain of this year’s games will be Professional Golfers’ Association chairman, David Murchie, who’s even going to bring along the Ryder Cup for all of golf-mad Scotland to see.

Click the link to book your tickets for the Crieff Highland Gathering here.

Introducing Our New Spa Ranges

We’ve refreshed, rejuvenated and revitalised our Spa, with two new relax-inducing product ranges…

First up, we’re proud to announce that we’ve introduced the number one in German professional skincare – BABOR – to our Spa. With their tailor made products and lasting results, #WeAdoreBABOR!


Coming from the spa town of Aachen in Germany – the award winning European products are crafted to suit each individual skin type. All of the treatments begin with a professional skin consultation to work out which products best suit your skin’s needs.

BABOR combine cutting edge technology with natural healing botanicals in their glass ampoules of goodness.


The facials follow an eight step process with a warm and cool compresses applied between each treatment. The change from warm to cool leaves the skin feeling fresh and full of life. You can feel everything on the skin’s surface when the cool compress lifts off. The technique helps to boost circulation in the skin, and leaves you with a lasting healthy skin tone.

All of our Spa team have been fully trained by an expert from BABOR on how to deliver the treatments, so you’ll get the best results from these little ampoules.


BABOR’s beautiful results on the skin aren’t our only reason for choosing them for our spa. When we opened our doors in 1868 as a hydropathic treatment hotel, it was water cures all around. With BABOR’s use of the healing power of water throughout all of their treatments and in the products themselves, we felt they would be right at home here at the Hydro.


Let’s introduce you to another addition to our Spa – next up, Aromatherapy Associates.

Aromatherapy Associates use completely natural ingredients in all of their products and keep them free of harsh chemicals and unnecessary synthetics.


The personalised massages begin with a treatment consultation where you’ll fill out a form highlighting any problem areas. There are questions about digestion, skin type and stress levels which can be anything from asking if you spend long hours at the computer, to if you’ve got sinus problems.

One of our therapists will use the information to select three different oils which are relevant to your highlighted issues. You’ll choose your favourite scent to be used throughout the treatment.


The molecules in Aromatherapy Associates’ oils are so fine that they actually enter the bloodstream through the hair shaft. The oil penetrates the skin and will stay in the body for around eight hours, so you’ll feel the benefits long after your treatment.

The treatment is about you – just you, and no one else. If you’re finding that you’ve been carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, and would like the attention to be focussed on releasing the tension from your back, then your therapist will do just that! Of course if you want them to avoid a particular area altogether, they’ll do that too.


Check out our Spa Brochure to find the new treatment for you at the Crieff Hydro Spa.

National Afternoon Tea Week

It’s time to look out those teapots and proudly extend one’s pinky finger on end.

This week we are celebrating National Afternoon Tea Week. Once a rather stuffy and formal affair, the afternoon tea has reinvented itself and made a huge come back as the new and trendy thing to do.


The tradition started in the tea-drinking capital that is England, back in 1840. The Duchess of Bedford was having a real hard time trying to keep up with the fashion of having her dinner at 8pm. The long gap between lunch and dinner left the poor Duchess going hungry.

To remain on top of fashion and get around her “hunger spells” she decided that a tray of tea, sandwiches and cake should be brought to her room in the late afternoon. She shared the delightful new habit with her friends and it soon progressed to a full-blown social craze.


And why wouldn’t it – what’s not to love about tea, cakes and sandwiches.

Afternoon tea has since become more of a social event rather than an actual mealtime (although if you’re going to do a Duchess of Bedford and have afternoon tea every day, what better week to do it?)

There’s certainly much more variety than in the Duchess’ day…

There are themed afternoon teas – with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Mad Hatters Tea Parties – and you can mix it up from the typical English experience with Indian, Oriental and French inspired afternoon teas.


You can even get rid of the tea all together and substitute in some champagne, gin or even whisky or beer. The options are endless for those out there who feel a little hankering coming on between lunch and dinner.

Here at Crieff Hydro we are all about embracing the modern twist on the traditional afternoon tea with our Hendricks, whisky or Prosecco offerings. Have your tipple in a teapot we say!


Book now.



Crieff High Street

Welcome to the Top 10 Things We Love blogs

Some are big, some are small. Some are man-made, some are natural. Some have tartan sheep, some don’t. They’re all very different but they all have one vital thing in common – we love them! And here’s why…

#9 Crieff High Street


Only a five-minute stroll from our front door, the quaint little High Street is lined with loads of independently owned Scottish businesses.

Of course, it’s got all the fundamental essentials that we couldn’t live without – a hole in the wall, supermarket and a petrol station. But there’s an unspoilt, old-worldly feel to the street which makes it the perfect setting for all of the one-of-a-kind little shops.

You won’t find clones of these wee shops popping up elsewhere, and the businesses are doing pretty well too! There’s no need to look any further than Crieff High Street to find some award-winning celeb-recommended food.


Fish in Crieff hooked the Fishmonger of the Year Award at last year’s Scottish Independent Retailer Awards. If you’re staying in our self-catering facilities, pop in and get something fresh! For something ready to eat, stop in at award-winning Campbell’s Bakery, which carries a strong recommendation from Crieff’s very own Ewan McGregor. They’ve been a popular stop on Crieff High Street for almost a century, serving the “the pie of all pies” according to Ewan.

It has to be said, it wouldn’t be a trip to the High Street without nipping in to Gordon and Durward’s sweetie shop. Opened in 1925, the traditional confectioner lets you watch the sweets being made in the back of the shop. Think Willy Wonka’s factory minus the Oompa-Loompa’s with a tartan vibe, and you’ve got it . On display in the window is a grandfather clock made totally of sweeties, you can’t miss it!


Now that you’ve got the kids sorted out with some sweets, it’s time to seek out the adult treats! Next in line is J.L. Gill’s – specialising in high end Scottish food and drink for over 125 years – this is an ideal stop for gifts… Or maybe just to top-up the alcohol cupboard with some quality liquor.


After all of this shopping it must be time for a pit stop! The bars and restaurants take on a more contemporary vibe, with Delivino’s, The Lounge and The Quaich offering modern interior, food and drink.

Gin lovers, this one is for you, The Square Bar and Kitchen offers 35 different gins from all over the globe.

The Square is one of the High Street’s newest developments and it is run by none-other than Fran, our Brasserie’s former cocktail-maestro.

Interestingly, the town has a history of taking a modern approach. Back in the day, while the town was being predominantly used as the meeting point for exchanging cattle between the highlands and lowlands of Scotland, Crieff became home to Scotland’s first lending library in 1680. You can still visit the library museum just outside of Crieff.

And if all this isn’t enough for you, who knows… You might even bump into Ewan McGregor!


TBT the 80’s – it’s Rewind Festival!

It’s finally here, the weekend that all of us real music lovers have been looking forward to. The time has come to dig out our leg-warmers, don the broad shoulder pads and style the biggest of backcombed hair-do’s.

That’s right, we’re talking Rewind Festival… An overwhelming supply of eighties music is about to hit Perth and it’s a big one… we can’t wait!

Headliners include 80’s icons; Tony Hadley, ABC, Adam Ant, Holly Johnson, Big Country, but most importantly, the good people at Rewind have managed to secure the best of the best, the epitome of 80’s music and a British national treasure… the one and only – Rick Astley.

Astley’s career has taken a somewhat unlikely revival over recent years. The art of ‘Rickrolling’ has allowed for Rick to make a full comeback to the music scene, and what a comeback it has been, with him clinching the UK’s number one album spot this June – beating much less talented artists like Paul McCartney and Tom Odell to the post. We knew you could do it Rick.


The internet phenomenon known as Rickrolling started in 2007, twenty years after the release of Astley’s unforgettable and fantastic track ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. The craze saw people being tricked into gave people the surprise gift of watching Rick Astley videos on YouTube when they had actually clicked on more enticingly-labelled links. As a result, his ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ YouTube video has now been viewed over 216 million times.


June was a mixed bag of emotions for Astley fans and for Rick himself, at the start of the month he was dealt the devastating blow that a lorry load of his new albums had been sabotaged by vandals. The van was travelling through Calais when the stowaways on-board decided to amuse themselves by destroying the cargo of Rick’s hard work. It was thought that this could’ve had a detrimental effect on Astley’s comeback, in what was no doubt a very difficult time for him.

It’s unknown whether the attack was a protest by foreign music snobs or just a depraved act of mindless violence. What is known is that they couldn’t keep our Rick down for long, he bounced back from this crime against fine music within a week, to take his well-earned place at the number one spot.


The vandals’ poor-taste (both musically and morally) would’ve left Rick feeling like he wanted to give up. Fortunately, they are in the minority with their badly-tuned ears as Rick has received an abundance of support from fans. In 2008 Rick was named the ‘Best Act Ever’ at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Honoured Astley received over 100 million votes which was more than all of the other winners that night combined.


Almost thirty years after Astley first dominated the music scene, we will be treated some new sounds from his album ‘50’ at the Rewind Festival. Alongside the highly regarded artists, attendees will enjoy a funfair, an inflatable church, and a silent disco. What more could anyone ask for?!


Odd Balls – Weird Golfing Facts

Colin Montgomerie teed off the British Open for its 145th tournament this morning, to a nightmare double bogey start… but hey – at least it’s sunny! Golf’s longest-standing competition is being held at Scotland’s Royal Troon course this year, with players competing to become the winner of the coveted Claret Jug.8

If like us, you don’t know your bogey from your birdie or your eagle from your albatross (we only just got our heads around the offside rule for the Euro’s), there really is no better time to brush up on some fun golfing facts…



Golf is one of only two sports (alongside the javelin throw) to have ever been played on the moon. Back in 1971, Alan Shepard smuggled a make-shift six-iron on to the Apollo 14 because he wanted to do something special while on the moon – no point doing things by halves Alan!

Shepard contacted a local club pro in Houston, who connected the head of a six-iron to the shaft of a piece of rock collecting equipment. Shepard covered the club with a sock so it wouldn’t be found before launch. He reckons the ball went about 200 yards, but he could only hit it with one hand because of his pressure suit.


The hole-in-one insurance:

In Japan it is fairly common for golfers to carry a ‘hole-in-one’ insurance policy. The Japanese custom following a hole-in-one is to share the good luck by throwing a party, complete with gifts for friends and family. This can be a fairly expensive affair, so they cover themselves with some insurance.

Of course, the insurance companies have calculated that the actual chance of an average golfer scoring a hole-in-one is approximately 12,500 to one, so it seems they have the upper hand there.

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Golf balls:

Up until the mid-19th century, (around the time of The Open’s first ever tournament) golf balls were typically made of feathers… The feathers were boiled and stuffed into a little leather pouch, the pouch was then sewn up into a ball shape. FYI: If you happen to be golfing with one of these heirlooms, an 1845 J.Gourlay feathery recently sold for £5000 at auction!


Have you ever wondered why today’s golf balls have all those little dimples? Well, the dimples are there to reduce turbulence and they allow the ball to travel further than a completely smooth ball. Surprisingly, these little balls can have anywhere between 330 to 500 dimples.


So there we have it, some fun facts that even the most unseasoned of golfers can drop into an Open conversation… Of course if The Open has inspired you to take up golf, come join us up at Culcrieff Golf Club or for something completely different try out our disc golf!

T in the Park!!

It’s festival time! T in the Park is finally here and many of you will be stuffing your sleeping bag into its disproportionately tiny sack, packing provisions and practicing setting up your tent as we speak, in preparation for the big weekend ahead.

T in the Park 2011

But for those of you clever people who have opted to rest your head here at the Hydro rather than in blue 1, yellow 3 or green 4, we’ve got 7 top tips for you…

  1. Sadly, T in the Park/Scotland in general hasn’t got the best reputation for being a suntrap. While T has occasionally been known to be a sunny affair, with many a shirtless pink Scotsman spotted making the most of it, it’s best to pack for all eventualities. Wellies are a popular footwear option and a mac in a sack is a must have.


  1. Book a wake-up call. Ask reception when you check in, you’ll want a good night’s sleep but you don’t want to miss the main event!
  2. Fuel up! You’re about to embark on a whole weekend of chaotic fun so it’s good to start on a full stomach. Breakfast is included with your room fee so fill up on haggis, bacon, cereal, fruit or whatever you want from our hot and cold buffet… You’ll have peace of mind that you’ve had at least one substantial meal this weekend.
  3. Next up is transport – City Link have got it covered running busses between Crieff and T in the Park regularly throughout the weekend. The journey is roughly half an hour, so just enough time to get that festival feeling
  4. You’ve been out raving all day, unfortunately, the constant state of fist pumping inevitably takes its toll. Take some down time before embarking on another day of festivities and book in for a relaxing massage or a new BABOR facial treatment at our spa.


  1. Finally, rehydration will be top of the agenda after the weekend’s revelry. Make sure to book in to the Victorian Spa where you can relax, revive and replenish your energy to take the edge off those festival blues before heading home.
  2. Don’t forget your tickets!

I scream, you scream, we all scream ICE CREAM MONTH!

 July is National Ice Cream Month. A month where we are free to graze, guilt-free, on outrageous amounts of ice cream in order to celebrate the existence of the chilly treat… bring on the Magnums!

Everyone likes ice cream. Ice cream can be used in any situation by anyone. Its qualities are endless. It’s the perfect pudding – even after five courses, there’s always room for a cheeky ice cream.

Ice cream really is the Swiss army knife of desserts. It kicks all other puddings out of the park in terms of its adaptability. It can be used for happy occasions – on holidays, celebrating a sunny day or just treating yourself.


Medically, it is the food of choice for aiding the pain of tooth ache and removed tonsils.

Emotionally, it can be used to support us throughout times of strife. The reliable friend by our side during those painful break ups where we may have been guilty of demolishing several tubs of the delicious dairy delight…


So, who do we have to thank for this month of appreciation for frozen creamy goodness?!

Ronald Reagan, that’s who. In 1984 while in office as President of America, Ronald Reagan deemed it appropriate to devote a whole month to celebrating the pudding, and declared that “Ice cream is a nutritious and wholesome food… It enjoys a reputation as the perfect dessert and snack food.” He called on people of America to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities”.


While we’re not sure where Mr Reagan was getting his nutritional information from, it seems rude to just ignore the president’s wishes but (and here comes the only issue with ice cream…) where to begin? Gelato, fro-yo, sorbet, ice lollies, ice creams, waffle cones, sprinkles, sauces… it’s enough to give you brain freeze!


Here at the Hydro, if you nip up to the Winter Garden, there’s a range of Stewart Tower ice cream. Stewart Tower is produced only 18 miles from our front door (we like to keep it local). Originally a dairy farm, Stewart Tower decided to move into using their Holstein cow milk to produce high quality ice cream. The ice cream is made to an Italian gelato style recipe and the farmers are churning out around 200 different flavours, from the classic strawberry and raspberry ripples to Bakewell Tart, muesli and Crème Egg. Thankfully we’ve narrowed all those flavours down to just five delicious options.

In our Piccolo restaurant, we serve the award winning Jannetta’s Gelato. Jannetta’s Gelateria is an Italian family business that first opened in nearby St Andrews in 1908 and has been operating from the same spot since! On top of their 54 varieties of premium ice cream flavours, they also sell a range of flavours of sorbet and frozen yoghurt which we have available in our restaurant from time to time.

Feel free to give them a visit to sample their extensive ranges, it is ice cream month after all!Ronald-Reagan-feature

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